Visit 88 National Historic Landmarks In Illinois

Illinois visitors are most likely to visit Chicago, Route 66, and Shawnee National Forest. Why? Because these landmarks are the worst-kept secrets our state offers tourists. They’re brilliant, big, and fun. But what about the best-kept secrets inside Illinois? Believe it or not, our sizable state has hundreds — thousands — of great locations for the adventurous explorer to discover. These include gorgeous state parks, historical sites, and national landmarks most people will never hear about. Here are a few of our favorites. 

The most popular places (aside from the aforementioned) are Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Pullman National Monument, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Lincoln and Pullman will cater to history buffs, while the latter three national historic trails will allow drivers to spend as much or little time as they like at certain locations while finding hole-in-the-wall stops along the way.

We recommend the Trail of Tears State Forest in Union County, near Jonesboro and Murphysboro. The forest encompasses 5,000 acres of conserved land used for timber production, outdoor recreation, and ecosystem preservation. 

The forest is a great place for those who would like to spend money on lodging by camping and enjoying the great outdoors. There are numerous wildlife viewing opportunities available throughout the park year-round, but the best times are dawn and dusk during any season. Keep in mind that some areas are open for hunting during the relevant seasons, so wear orange when hiking or camping. Watch for deer, raccoons, and turkeys.

Fancy horseback riding? Several out-of-the-way equestrian trails are available. Other park activities include fishing, picnicking, and metal detecting. Shelters are available for rent. Campsites are first come, first serve. Backpackers might find log shelters and privies to use during overnight stays. Most campsites cost $8 for an overnight stay, but check with park officials prior to arrival or when making a reservation to make sure.

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